musings from the deep

May 11, 2016

So lately, I have been thinking about . . . 3.

Yes.  3.

I can think of so many reasons why I should not be thinking about 3.

They include:

  1. I really like getting sleep (and right now, generally I do!) and some free time to myself (like right now, when the kids are in bed)
  2. I know it would be really hard, at least for a while.  And chaotic forever.
  3. harder to do some of the “bigger kid things” (like trips, etc) that I had been looking forward to
  4. harder to get time alone with Josh (and I love our couples time together, like the occasional weekend away or overnight)
  5. overpopulation/sustainability argument*
  6. lack of bedrooms (2 kids would have to share)
  7. I am getting old (36 in a week)
  8. $$$ (no, it wouldn’t bankrupt us, but choices would still have to be made)
  9. I #$(*&@ing hate pumping breast milk!
  10. I work full time**
And yet I am still thinking.  Like, reaaaaaally thinking.  And I get all giddy at the idea that this is even a potential option.
#1, #4, and #8 are actually probably my biggest concerns.   So I’ll keep thinking.
* but what if my third discovered the answer to climate change?  
** I am not actually convinced this should be a reason, but I have heard others say this


  • Reply Melanie March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Aw! My husband and I have also considered having three kids, but I’m currently 38 weeks pregnant with baby #2, so he refuses to have a real conversation about it until we see how we do with two. šŸ™‚ I share all of your concerns, especially #4; I also worry about further dividing my attention between three kids instead of two, which is maybe exacerbated by the fact that I work full time… I was one of three growing up, and sometimes the dynamic was difficult — older sister and I were very close, younger sister and I butted heads a lot. But as an adult, I can’t imagine not having them both, and my younger sister and I are very close now. What does Josh think?

  • Reply Krista March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Do it! All the "cons" to more children kind of just work out. Not magically, of course, but you make it work. As another commenter mentioned, we occasionally use our sitter to watch the twins while we take the older ones out. I swear I get less sleep now with a three year old finding all kinds of reasons to wake me up…newborns don’t scare me anymore šŸ™‚

  • Reply Emily March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I’m a new mom to a 5 day old and come from a family of 3, so love the idea. My husband has one sibling and thinks 2 sounds great: I can’t imagine life without my siblings, but see how we feel as #1 grows up!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm


      I wanted 3 for a long time (I always thought it would be 2 girls and then a boy — nope!). Then we had A, and it was overwhelming at first, and I decided 2 might be more reasonable. Now that I feel like I have 2 under control I guess I am reverting back to that original idea.

  • Reply Omdg March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I worry about everything you say and also favoring one child over the other and barely having enough time for one with my current job. Plus, this is the happiest I am my husband have felt for years, and we feel wary of messing that up. And then there’s also professional considerations for both of us. This is how we ended up with "no." But you’re in a different place than I am.

  • Reply beth March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Good luck with your decision. I was a 2 and through (no second thoughts) but I can understand how hard it would be if you had lingering thoughts about another. And, at the risk of getting completely flamed, you don’t have to breastfeed or pump at all if you don’t want to. Just putting it out there.

    BTW- 12-24 months has never been a great age for my kids either. Most people tell me it was one of their favorites but my kids were really tough at that age. Super needy and tantrums galore. Not a great combination.

  • Reply Erica March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    These are all good points, but you guys are great parents and I think 3 is doable with 2 busy, working parents (One of my coworkers is a 2 x MD family and they love having 3 kids – who are now 1, almost 2.8 and 5). I think for us, #1 (sleep and running/alone time), #3 (i’m so excited to do big kid things!) and #4 are the biggest concerns for going from a 1 kid to a 2 kid family. We waited long enough that there will be 2-3 months of double daycare costs if we have a second next spring, so that’s not a huge concern anymore (although I was really looking forward to getting back that $1100 a month when G started Kindergarten!).

  • Reply Erin March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I was very, very against 3 up until my youngest was 2.5 years old. I kept pushing my husband to get a vasectomy, and he SEEMED all for it, but one day said he wanted to discuss having a 3rd. My hangups were having a difficult pregnancy with #2, and reallllly not enjoying newborns AT ALL. Those 2 things meant to me that I needed to just suck it up and deal with that because it is so short term – so here we are with a 9 month old, a 4 year old and a 6 year old. I personally LOVE, love love love the spacing between our 3. My first 2 were exactly 2 years apart and that was SO hard. This baby stage has been a piece of cake comparatively, and my baby was not an easy newborn – it was just SO much easier not having to contend with a 2 year old at the same time! The older kids also adore their baby brother, and I think for my kids having the oldest be a girl also makes it a ton easier because she’s definitely a little mom to her brothers. I didn’t have the age thing to worry about (I’m 34 now), but weirdly this pregnancy for the first half turned out to be my easiest yet, I never got sick. Then I did end up with placenta previa and needed to be hospitalized and have an early c-section and a short NICU stay for my baby but still, in hindsight it wasn’t bad. Oh, we both also work full time but have a lot of flexibility with scheduling unlike you 2 so that makes it easier.

    At any rate, all of your concerns are of course valid. There is no right answer, so good luck making the choice!

    • Reply Lori C July 14, 2019 at 8:25 am

      This is a hugely helpful comment as I have two boys, exactly 2 years apart (4 and 2 in August) and we are just starting to discuss a third. Sleep is a huge concern because selfishly I love my sleep… and money a concern too, although my oldest could be starting kindergarten next fall and therefore cut down the time with 3 day care payments. Other concerns are age (Iā€™m 38, turning 39 in March) and delivery- I had two csections and the second one was scheduled and AWFUL. I feel bad saying it but the csection is a real deciding factor for me! Time will tell but your post was encouraging!

  • Reply schummar March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Hi Sarah– my husband and I are currently in the (unfortunately, surprisingly long) process of trying for our second. In the past I have wavered between wanting a large (3 or 4 children) or small family– partly because I had a difficult delivery (HELLP syndrome) and a subsequently tough newborn period. However, I read something recently– a quote (maybe attributed to Gwyneth Paltrow?) that basically said, don’t plan the size of your family based on the pains of infancy; instead, think about how many people you’d like around the thanksgiving table. Really resonated with me! Good luck with whatever you decide. From your posts, it is clear that you will assuredly handle whatever life brings!

  • Reply anna March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    DO IT!

    The case for having more kids:

    If you think you want 3…you probably do! Imagine life in 5, 10, 20+ years…

    Good luck!

  • Reply Emily March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I think a lot about having three around the Thanksgiving table too…but it just seems like it would be soooo hard for the next few years! And not that I necessarily put much stock in them, but I have seen articles recently about how parents of 3 are the unhappiest.

    I have a 3yo and 2yo and both of us have been pretty set on stopping at two but lately…I don’t know. I can’t make the thoughts of three go away. #1, 2, and 3 on your list are my biggest concerns, and #5 also concerns me a bit. Also, money wouldn’t necessarily be a huge concern in the long run, but if we had a third we would have three in daycare at once for a year which would be insane (or we could get a nanny but since both my husband and I work from home a good chunk of the time, and in a not-huge house, I am not sure that would be doable). I feel like I can always come up with a lot of reasons not to do it! But then if your gut tells you that you want it, it still might be worth it to go for it. It seems like that is how these things often play out. And the Thanksgiving table! šŸ™‚

  • Reply Bethany March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    OH Sarah thank you so much for sharing this! I have a 2 and 4 year old and just keep flip flopping on whether there should be a three. I am giving it some time to see where the cards lie when my youngest is 3 or 4 because I don’t think my husband and I are ready for more chaos at this exact moment. There are a lot of reasons pointing towards us stopping at 2 though: I had pelvic prolapse that got worse after #2, it’s easier to travel with 2 (half of our family is in the UK), we live in a 2 bedroom apartment with ONE bathroom, I’m diabetic and nearly 40, etc. But when I think of myself 10 and 15 years down the road, I really want a third and I can’t imagine regretting that decision.

  • Reply Ana March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I am (and will likely always be) wistful about not having 3 kids. But all of your points (and the fact that my husband was firmly against it) added up to a no. Also, while the IDEA of having a third was always in my head, I never did feel ready for another pregnancy (my pregnancies were REALLY hard, if overall uneventful)—there was always some reason to keep waiting, until it became too late. So I guess part of me was always ambivalent. #1, #2, and #8, as well as the fact that we’d have to really divide our attention even further (between work, our own hobbies/interests, and each kid) were the biggest factors.
    I’m sure whatever you decide will result in a happy & exceptional life for you all!

  • Reply nicoleandmaggie March 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    My husband is also firmly against it. My body, I think, is doing a last-ditch effort to try to get me pregnant again before it no longer can. I don’t think it will win, however.

  • Reply Ali March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I really thought I wanted three, and my husband really, really, really thought he wanted three…but honestly, the jump from 1 to 2 has been REALLY tough on both of us. I’m not sure if it’s the age difference (2 years apart) or just their personalities (beyond stubborn x2!), but it has been an incredibly tough few years (they are now almost 4 and almost 2). I am not closing the door on #3 yet, but just can’t imagine adding another one to my plate at the moment. I am a part time working mom and only have childcare for the times that I work (and sometimes not quite enough for that). The day to day taking care of 2 kids for most hours of the day is TOUGH. Just right now, my oldest is doing swim lessons…just getting the two of them out the door, to the rec center, managing getting the 3 year old (sometimes screaming) into the pool, and keeping my little guy occupied during the lesson is just HARD. This makes me think that despite having the "dream" of a part time job, I might be better suited to work full time. (But then again, I do really like not having to rush off in the mornings, having free days to take the kids places, etc. I guess the grass is always greener.) Anyhow, all that to say, I am a little jealous that you are in a place where you can consider a 3rd without completely freaking out about "HOW????" …while I really want one, I am just not in a place where I feel like that’s possible right now. (maybe you should have a 3rd and convince all your readers like me that it really isn’t so hard/tough/impossible/etc??!!)

  • Reply Michelle March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I was going back and forth on wanting #2, but I originally wanted 4! Number 1 was a surprise, and now that he is 2, he is just an absolute joy in our lives so I’m really wanting more again. The infant stage was so incredibly hard though, I think with him being a surprise made it so much harder. Now that I know what it’s like having an "older" kid, I definitely want more!

    My husband is on the fence because of our very strong family history of twins, but I still think that’s pretty unlikely! (My husband is a twin, my mom is a twin, and my cousin has twins, all fraternal) I would be fine with 3, in fact I think 3 is such a great balance, always having a choice in siblings to go to. I come from a family of 4 kids and I can’t imagine not having an option of who I wanted to play with, talk to, etc…

    I am also such a big fan of the show "parenthood" and seeing their big family dinners when the kids are adults really makes me want that for my future… Best of luck deciding!

  • Reply Lag Liv March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Since Sarah emailed me and I wrote a million words to answer basically say "yes, if you think you want one, you should TOTALLY have a third baby", I figured I’d link to the post here. Love the discussion!

  • Reply Jessie March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I know my comments, as I do not have children, likely wont mean anything… but as someone who is currently going through IVF round #2 after a failed first round (chemical pregnancy — I hate that term), I say GO. FOR. IT. If not for you, for me šŸ™‚

    Kidding, of course. But I always thought I wanted 3, having grown up with just 1 sibling (too boring! and, sad to admit, we’re not very close). Husband wants 2, having grown up with 2 siblings ("the world is build for families of 4- who has to sit alone on the roller coaster?!"). Looking at a real possibility of a life with no children, if you are willing and able, go for the third. It doesn’t seem like anyone regrets adding more love to their family.

  • Reply Alison March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Well, I want about five kids (we’ve got two now and in process of adopting third), so I am definitely pro large family. But regardless, I do feel that if you’re considering it, that’s a good signal that it’s right for you. I am one of three and am so thankful for my siblings, and always wished I had more! Looking at your top three concerns mentioned above (1, 4, 8…all of them really), I don’t necessarily think a third would make much of a long term difference vs. two. But you know deep down what’s right for your family no matter what šŸ™‚

  • Reply ann March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    This is really interesting to read and think about. It seems to me (as a total outsider, so grains of salt here) that deciding to have a third means that you have to be comfortable with anything happening — it could be easy, it could be really freaking hard; the pregnancy could be no big deal or you could be on bedrest for 5 months; you could have 1 or wind up with twins; A and C could love having a younger sibling or resent the new sibling; the baby could be perfectly healthy or quite ill….etc etc. If you’re comfortable with anything happening, then go for it! If any of the possible outcomes would really upset you, well, it might be best left as a dream and better to embrace the life you have.

    {I say this having watched my best friend struggle when her very desired third kid turned out to have a seizure disorder….not at all expected, and she certainly loves him, but it has wreaked havoc with her life and with her older kids’ lives and with her and her husband’s professional lives, etc etc. She had 2 healthy kids so there was no warning/preparation, and it’s been tough. If that’s still an ok outcome, then go for 3!}

  • Reply Health Blogs March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    What a nice and comprehensive post you shared with a lots of stuff…….wonderful work

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